I was doing some research into another article which will be published at a later date and I came across a term which sparked an interesting thought process. The term was experimenter enthusiasm and it is something that I know I really relate to and I know for a fact I have been guilty of it many times.
What is experimenter enthusiasm?
In order to properly explain it, I will give you a scenario. Say you think of a new way to do something, you build or buy a new piece of equipment or you are just trying something new during a paranormal investigation. A lot of investigators tend to not write up reports on their investigations. Results are usually based on our memories and recollection of what happened. When you are excited about a new piece of equipment or a new experiment, you are ecstatic when you appear to get results. It's a success you think to yourself. It worked in the first investigation. So you add this to your weekly arsenal. You continue performing this experiment or using this piece of equipment at every investigation and soon you notice that the results have dropped off. It doesn't seem to work as well as it first did. The question is, was it something that really did work well to begin with and then drop off or was it that we were so invested in this new thing or new way of doing things that we thought it was more successful than it actually was? Was the activity experienced any different to other occasions where you have tried the same thing you always do? Is it a case of experimenter enthusiasm?
Are we projecting?
Of course I am going to tease this route as it is where a lot of my research is leading me these days. Is experimenter enthusiasm actually a form of projection? Think about it. You and your fellow investigators are invested in this new piece of equipment or new technique. You have likely planned beforehand how and where you are going to incorporate it. You may have an emotional attachment to it. You sit in a room and execute your plan, completely focused on the task at hand. Is the activity that you are perceiving actually a form of psychic projection? By collectively concentrating your thoughts in this particular moment, are you make it happen? As you continue doing the same experiment over and over, you may not be as emotionally attached or invested which can be a key element to psychic projection. I personally believe that if you have that emotional connection it can be a significant factor when it comes to psychic projection. So if that attachment is now gone, perhaps you are no longer projecting and this is why all of a sudden it seems that this new experiment or piece of equipment worked well in the beginning and then started to drop off as time went on.
Is it a lack of understanding?
When it comes to a piece of equipment especially, we don't always know the ins and outs when we first start using it. While early results may be thought to be paranormal, as you use the equipment more and more, you understand it better. You understand more about how it works and what creates a false positive. You understand more if it just does random things. Perhaps in the beginning, your results were the same as they are now, but as you have a better understanding of how it all works, you are interpreting things differently. A lot of the time, people don't tend to formally record the results of an investigation. Using a form and recording everything that happened is a great tool to go back and refer to when you look at your results. How often do we rely on our memories? Maybe we thought things were quite active in the beginning, but if we were to really look at the data and reports, has there really been much of a change or are we just caught up in the experimenter enthusiasm and remembering things differently?
What about when it doesn't work early on?
Just as much as we get excited about something we think is working on the first try, there are a lot instances where the opposite happens. In fact I think most times in my own experience, more times than not, it rarely works on the first try. A lot of people believe particularly when you are using a new piece of equipment or technique that spirits may not know what to do or how to communicate and you have to sort of explain it or teach them. In a lot of ways, if a spirit is in fact a person who has passed, this makes sense. When I look at it from a different perspective with say psychic projection like I mentioned above, look at the Philip Experiment. They performed this experiment of collectively focusing on a fake spirit called Philip to psychically manifest him. It was well over a year before they saw any results. When we look at the scientific method, we know with experimentation you can't gauge results after only one session. You have to complete the same thing in the same conditions over and over and over and over again before you can even begin to interpret the results.
Things can take time and in reality, usually do. We know even during an investigation, it can be hours before anything remotely interesting happens. When you are used to working in this way, you have a low expectation that something will work straight away. So if you do get what you feel are results early on, yes you will be excited and enthusiastic about it. It is important as always to keep a level head and take a step back and look at what really is happening. Maybe you have come up with something that works really well. You also have to consider though that it works just as well as anything else you are doing, but because you are invested in it, you are getting caught up. Guilty party over here I do it all the time. So now I make sure I write things down. I don't always have a pen and paper so I jot down notes in my phone so I can record them at home. That way I can look at things properly and work out if something really has worked better than something else.
Do you have any new ideas that you feel work really well or better than the 'usual' way of doing things? Tell me about it in the comments below! Share your ideas!
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